Shiva Paint Sticks
Shiva paint sticks are an oil based paint in stick form. After applying the paint to fabric it should be left to dry for 3 to 5 days. After that the image can be heat set and the paint is permanent.
I first learned about these guys in a class taught by Colleen Wise. Colleen uses them primarily as shading devices. I LOVE her book because it’s very specific about her techniques and written with a ‘this is how you do it’ approach. I would describe Colleen as a very technical quilter. She utilizes dyeing, shading and piecing tricks to achieve dimension and depth in her work. Very Marcel vs. Ilan. Her book is all nuts and bolts which makes me feel like I got my money’s worth.
The first step in using the stick is to ‘peel’ off the hardened exterior of paint to reveal the soft paint inside. Sort of like peeling an apple.
The prayer flag project was the perfect opportunity to play around with the paint sticks. 16 of the same but each one slightly different.
I started by creating a freezer paper template of my design, the Adinkra symbol called Ananse Ntontan – The Spider’s Web. It stands for wisdom, craftiness and creativity. I used the cut out version and saved the cut out itself to experiment with the paint sticks on the outside of the design. Ultimately, I preferred the former to the latter but it was a useful exercise for experimenting with the effects of rubbing plates on the background of the fabric (about a MILLION ideas crossed my mind on how these could be used). It was also practical because the freezer paper stopped sticking after about 8 applications.
I used a stencil brush to spread the paint. When I took Colleen’s class she had us apply the paint only to the freezer paper, we used the stencil brush to push the paint off onto the fabric (picture below on the left). This is a great technique if you’re doing shading. It didn’t cover too well for my project so I experimented with applying the paint directly to the fabric and then spreading it with the brush (picture below on the right).
After doing a couple flags with just paint I experimented with placing a rubbing plate under the fabric before applying the paint:
I purchased my paint sticks at my local art store and the rubbing plates from Laura Murray. I noticed when I went to her website to confirm the link that she now carries sets of ‘mini’ paint sticks. The paint goes a REALLY long way. Wish these minis were around when I purchased my set. The rubbing plate pictured above was from a set of ethnic prints. This one was actually an African plate which I thought was a cool combo given my image.
This iteration was a color on color experiment. One of my favorite results.
I stored the brushes in a plastic bag over the few days I created these so I didn’t have to clean them after each session. I plan to purchase a few more brushes. I discovered that a dedicated ‘white’ brush is a must have. Same for black.
There are a couple more pics over on Flickr if you want to see more iterations.